Date: 8/1/20 5:45 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] August 1, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:30 a.m. 57 degrees, wind SSE 1 mph. Sky: colorless and hidden by
metastisizing ground fog, which dulls the green of the canopy. Upper
permanent stream: lost its voice, flows with limp. Lower: a puddle with a
pulse that retreats underground, infusing the marsh below the surface, a
liquid teleprompter whose vital contribution remains off camera. Wetlands:
fettered by fog; across the fen, the spires of pine and hemlock rise above
the hardwoods, out of the clouds; limbed islands in a sea of mist. Pond:
more murk than mist, ascends straight up like campfire smoke on a still
night, charmed by two painted turtles that sink below the surface, their
widening ripples overlap and merge like goofy cartoon eyes. No deerflies.
Plenty of goldenrod.

August lull: pockets of birdsong framed by *long* stretches of silence. A
delusional tanager, loud and hidden in the trees and fog, again, sings as
though its May. A jay and a house wren above the bones of the lower stream.
A red-eyed vireo, unaccompanied, a solo in the density of the mist. Across
the wetlands, an owl barks, a pruned rendition of the nocturnal
chart-topper. A robin with *chutzpah*, less than twenty feet away, leads
the dogs and me down the road; rush, pause, rush and then flies behinds us
. . . and begins again. The song of a hermit thrush, quelled by distance,
reduced to a suggestion. A red-breasted nuthatch, a tricycle-horn call,
rising and tedious. A titmouse whistles. Then, surprisingly, from above the
fog, a loon tremolos, a bone-chilling call that transforms the morning into
anything but mundane. I stop. Bound by fog and inside the long green
tunnel, there's nowhere for me to look, so I listen. *If he were human*,"
wrote John McPhee, *it would be the laugh of the deeply insane.*

The delicacy of a foggy August morning . . . surprise me morning, surprise
me.
 
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